Church Financial Controls for Collecting Donations

Handling Donations, Contribution Collection, Deposits and Data Entry

It is all too common for churches to find themselves missing money, and at The Cutler Group our heart sinks every time we field a call and learn that a church's finances have been targeted. In this day and age, with volunteers coming and going, you need to have a solid financial policy to protect your church.

We have put together some great flow charts for church financial controls for you to download, but thought it would be also useful to break some common tasks out in our blog.

Collecting Donations

  • Encourage church members to use envelopes

  • Envelopes protect the members' offerings until they can be counted. They also assist the contribution entry person making their job faster.

  • Encourage members to write checks

  • Consider providing "Online Giving"

Ushers Procedures

  • Provide your ushers with procedures to follow.

  • Know the number of bags or baskets used at services.

  • Make sure they know how to properly seal collection bags.

  • Assign tamper resistant bags and pre-number them for after collections, plus an extra bag in the event of bag defect or closing the bag too soon.


Bags should be then transported to a secure area for safekeeping prior to delivering to the counting team.

Counting Donations, Safes and Secured Areas

  • Only a limited number of people should maintain lock combinations.

  • Combinations and keys should never be stored in an unlocked desk drawer, hung on a wall or back of a door, or in an unsupervised area.

  • The safe should be in good working condition at all times. Ensure the safe door is not only shut, but also locked.

  • Limit the amount of funds secured in the safe to a minimum.

  • Secure the counting area.

  • Count the church donations a soon as possible.

  • Provide counting supplies, collection worksheets, bank deposit tickets, tape calculator, and tamper resistant bags.

  • Counters open the bags.

  • Assemble the counters (3 or more unrelated people).

  • Include any money received by mail.

  • Counters must examine the bags for tampering, breaches of the seal, or other irregularities.

  • Collections are counted, classified, and recorded by alternating count teams, or duties are rotated among several count team members.

  • Do not keep any cash at the church as "petty cash."

  • Cash should be separated by denominations, counted and banded.

  • Run two adding machine tapes to verify the total of the checks

  • Counters complete the count sheet by documenting currency, coin, and checks.

  • The adding machine tape should be identified by indicated cash or check, initialed and dated.

  • One copy of the tape is attached to the collection worksheet, along with each counter’s initials and date, to provide accountability for the amounts.

  • The counters record the currency and checks on a bank deposit ticket with all information on the ticket completed.

  • Have duplicate copies of the bank deposit for the church and the bank.

  • Supporting deposit documentation remains at the church.

  • Finance team and/or treasurer verifies bank deposit matches the counting records.

  • All counting records should be stored in a locked file cabinet .

Don't forget to have church financial policies created from top to bottom. We have a great church financial workflow, that you can add to, or review against your current policies.

If you have suggestions to add to our suggested counter and donation policy, let us know!

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